On a conference call from Haiti, where he is on a trip with other members of Congress, Anthony Weiner told reporters he’s been the victim of push-polling conducted by Michael Bloomberg's mayoral campaign, and that it indicates the mayor is “preparing to do some mudslinging” and get “very nasty” in order to get re-elected.
The calls Weiner was referring to were described by one of his aides in a New York Times story as “push polling,” although a number of pollsters have disputed that characterization, saying it is more likely Bloomberg people are, as most campaigns do, testing out a negative message.
Weiner repeatedly said that “nobody has disputed the facts” in the Times story, and that “this was a very unusual thing.”
Weiner said the polling being conducted by Bloomberg indicates the campaign is going to be “very nasty and very divisive. This looks like, sounds like, walks like and quacks like a push poll, which is one of those things in politics that, even in a dirty campaign – you often don’t even see push-polling. But I thought it was something that should be brought to people’s attention.”
I pointed out that a number of pollsters and political reporters – like Mark Blumenthal, Ben Smith, Michael Goldfarb and Peter Feld – don't think it sounds push-polling, and asked Weiner for his definition of the term and if any campaign he’s been on tested negative messages.
“I don’t have a definition,” Weiner said, before adding, “I’ve never done in the history of my career a poll that is less than 15, 20 – 20 minutes or so. I’ve never done one where you only test negative messages. Never done one that was automated. I’ve never done one that was this short.”
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